Meet Ismail Ahmad a third year Bachelor of Science student who is currently on exchange in Munich, Germany at the Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU)!
Ismail went on exchange because he wanted to live in a new country and learn a new language. “I already knew some German, so I thought it would be a good idea to improve it in a German-speaking country,” says Ismail. “Dalhousie has two main exchange agreements with German Universities – LMU in Munich and another one in Kiel in northern Germany. I selected Munich because it is a bigger city and I knew more about it than Kiel.” (author’s note: Dal just added a new agreement with the University of Rostock in Germany!) Ismail will be studying at LMU for the entire 2017/2018 academic year.
Since living in Munich, Ismail has become more independent. He credits the German lifestyle for influencing his own organisational skills. “I think I have changed and I do hope that these changes are permanent,” he says. “Being on my own has taught me quite a lot. I cook most of my food now, and I am more aware of my surroundings.”
Ismail has had many opportunities to explore his new home. From experiencing his first Oktoberfest to visiting the famous and beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle, Ismail is has been enjoying his time so far. He remarks, “Just wandering through the streets of Munich is itself an amazing and immersive experience.”
Advice to students
Ismail emphasises the importance of doing your research before going on exchange. “You need to be very organised and know what you are going to do, long before you step onto a plane,” he says. “Really scrutinise the courses on offer at the exchange university and see if they will get you the credits you need.”
While actually studying while abroad is important, Ismail explains the importance of experiencing what your host country has to offer. “Visit Museums, special events and, if you go to a non-English language speaking country, learn as much of the local language (or languages) as you can,” he says. “You should have as much fun as you can, whether you stay for one or for two semesters!”
Interested in going on exchange? Check out dal.ca/exchange for more details. The deadline to apply in January 31st, 2018. Not sure where to go? Check out our quiz here.
Delainey wishes she went on exchange for a full year.